IN A major blow to the Congress party just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat, Radhanpur MLA Alpesh Thakor, along with two other legislators, resigned from all party positions on Wednesday. He, however, made it clear that none of them had resigned as MLAs.
On the other hand, Patidar quota stir leader-turned-Congress leader Hardik Patel, who was campaigning for the Ahmedabad West seat on Wednesday, told reporters that he will “try to convince Alpesh to stay in the party.”
Alpesh, the president of OBC SC ST Ekta Manch and Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena, was appointed as All India Congress Committee secretary for Bihar after he joined the party ahead of 2017 Assembly elections. After much speculations for the last one month, Alpesh, along with two of his supporters – Bayad MLA Dhavalsinh Thakor and Becharaji MLA Bharatji Thakor – resigned from the party Wednesday.
“Today I quit from all the positions in Congress. Before this, during 2017 Assembly elections Thakor sena, with its huge following, had supported the Congress at a time when the party was struggling. There was a constant decline in its mandate, at that time the poor community members stood by the party. We only dreamt that the poor Thakor people, unemployed youth and farmers would be uplifted,” Alpesh said, while addressing media in Ahmedabad.
He reiterated this in his resignation letter too: “The Sena (Thakor sena) youth is immensely sad and agitated the way poor youth of our community were ignored and insulted…”
He said that out of 77 Congress candidates who won in the 2017 Assembly elections, 43 MLAs won due to support from the Thakor sena.
He stated that it was the mandate of his Thakor sena that he should resign from the Congress party. “My sena wants that I should not stay where there is disrespect, disregarded and betrayal. With great sadness and a feeling of betrayal, I quit from all the positions in Congress party,” he mentioned in the letter addressed to Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda.
Reacting to Alpesh’s move, Hardik Patel, speaking on the sidelines of his election campaign for the Ahmedabad West seat, told reporters, “I have said earlier too that Alpeshbhai had learnt gajab ki politics and he is playing that. I watched Bharatbhai and Dhavalbhai on television saying that they have not resigned from any post, but were sitting with him in the PC. So I can clearly see that there is politics going on…Will still try to convince Alpesh to stay in the party because he is the one who had fought against the BJP.”
Gujarat Congress chief Chavda said, “Alpesh Thakor must have taken the decision under personal, political and financial pressure. If he suddenly believes that the Congress is not the right party for him to be in, we do not agree with it. He, as well as his father, understands the ideology of the Congress.”
Asked about their position vis a vis the state Assembly, Gujarat Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told The Indian Express, “Till the time they do not join the BJP or any other party they will remain MLAs. Once they join the BJP, the Congress party has to move court under anti-defection law.” —(inputs from PTI)